Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: LINGUISTICS

Date: 1300-1400
Language: French
Origin: décliner, from Latin declinare 'to turn aside, inflect'

decline

2 verb
     
decline2 W3
1

decrease

[intransitive] to decrease in quantity or importance:
Spending on information technology has declined.
Car sales have declined by a quarter.
After the war, the city declined in importance.
2

say no

[intransitive and transitive] formal to say no politely when someone invites you somewhere, offers you something, or wants you to do something:
Offered the position of chairman, Smith declined, preferring to keep his current job.
Mary declined a hot drink and went to her room.
decline an offer/invitation etc
Mary declined Jay's invitation to dinner.
decline to do something
The court declined to review her case.
The minister declined to comment (=refused to speak to people who report the news) about the progress of the peace talks.
3

become worse

[intransitive] to become gradually worse in quality [= deteriorate]:
Her health has been declining progressively for several months.
Qualified staff are leaving and standards are declining.
4

somebody's declining years

formal the last years of someone's life
5

grammar

a) [intransitive]SL if a noun, pronoun, or adjective declines, its form changes according to whether it is the subject, object etc of a sentence
b) [transitive]SL if you decline a noun, pronoun, or adjective, you show the various forms that it can take
declining adjective:
declining attendance at baseball games
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